By Ric Burnley
Lake Trout/Salmon—“The ice is out!” announced Luke Haines at Fish 307 (www.fish307.com) in Lake George, New York, “It’s about time!” Soon after the water turned wet anglers started pulling out big lake trout and salmon. Folks fishing from shore are using medium shiners under a bobber or on the bottom to fool these fish while boat anglers are trolling Mooselook Wobblers in orange-and-black dot or Yozuri Pin Minnows in silver and blue. The fish are all over the water column, so Haines recommends fishing a variety of baits at a variety of depths. Both bank and boat anglers are concentrating on the creek mouths where the bait is schooled up. So far this season, the biggest salmon reported was 23 inches and the biggest lakie pushed 10 pounds. “Fishing around the spring mouths will be the best bet for the next few weeks,” he said.
Bluecats—South Carolina fishing has been heating up along with the weather reports Lynn Myers at Rivers Country Store in Santee Cooper (803-854-2965). “Our lake was down low, but the water levels are back up,” he said. Largemouth bass are engulfing plastic lizards and worms. “The bass are post spawn,” Lynn said, “so they’re out in the deeper areas of the lake.” Catfishing has been excellent. Anglers are encountering big felines pushing 50 pounds in the lower reaches of Lake Marion. In fact, Myer’s bait man, Richard Landry caught two 30-pound cats and a 48-pounder while fishing from shore at the Rocks. “They’ve moved out into the deeper water and are hanging around structure,” Lynn said. He suggests anglers use live herring or cut chunks of fresh. “If you’re lucky you might get a double whammy and pick up a striped bass while fishing for catfish,” Myers said.
Brown Trout—“Worst flood in the history of the dams,” reports Brian Harris of White River Guides (www.whiteriverguides.com) in Arkansas, “but the fishing is not terrible.” Brian says that the best way to fish the surging river is by boat. “This is a great time to fish streamers for big browns,” he says. According to Harris, the fish are hiding close to the bank and only coming out of the eddy to gulp up a bait. “There is still some caddis fly activity, too.” he says. San Juan worms and egg patterns are another favorite of brown trout. Once the water recedes in early May, Harris expects the fish to be big and hungry. “Fish feed heavily during periods of high water,” he says, “so when the level goes down you have a lot of fat healthy fish.” Lower water will spark the sulfur may fly hatches and he’ll switch to pheasant tails and yellow mayfly presentations. “Once this is all over the fishing will be as good as it can be,” he says.
Largemouth Bass—From Akron, Ohio, Marty Salchak, resident bass pro at Land Big Fish (www.infoatlandbigfish.com) recommends anglers fish Portage and Mosquito Lake this time of year. In Portage, the bass are hugging the shoreline. Marty is coaxing them out with a 4-inch Husky Jerk. In Mosquito Lake, Marty’s finding slab crappie with 1-inch tube jigs on a 1/64-ounce jighead. “The crappie are everywhere,” he says. Currently the water temperature is 52 degrees in the lakes, but Marty expect the action to heat up when the water hits the mid fifties. Then he’ll switch over to spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits.
Salmon/Trout—“I was just getting ready to call you with a report,” Steve Smith said excitedly. Oregon fishing is starting to heat up and Smith wanted to get the word out. “Chinook salmon fishing has been excellent in the Columbia River,” he said. Smith’s using bait-wrapped Quickfish and fishing between Longview and Bonneville. The magic depth has been 10 to 20 feet. Whole herring has been outperforming plug cut baits for anglers trolling at slack tide. He added that steelhead fishing has been pretty good in the Clackamas River. Sandshrimp and eggs have been producing the best catches. “Trout fishing has been improving daily on the Deschutes,” Smith added. He suggests using large stone fly patterns and small midges. Smith had just returned from Reno, Nevada where he fished Pyramid Lake. “It’s a neat fishery,” he said, “in the middle of the desert in the middle of a lake that is the last of an ancient inland sea.” This strange lake is filled with 18 to 22 inch Lahontan cutthroat trout. To fish the lake, wade out knee deep and cast a wooly bugger or muddler minnow. To get the fish really fired up, tie a small fly about 20 inches above a larger fly. “These fish are not particularly bright,” he says, “but the place is magically gorgeous.”